Monday, February 18, 2013


I cleaned my desk last week and came across old photos. Among the papers waiting to be filed, I found a forgotten envelope of pictures. I sat and looked at each one carefully, trying to remember the time, the moment it was taken. I discovered all of these moments in time were captured along my journey of illness and recovery. But instead of feeling sad or upset, I filled with delight and joy because these pictures proved there was so much good along the way. I smiled a lot and escaped my pain. Maybe it was only but a minute, but, in the end, I managed to smile through the tears. These are the moments I am choosing to remember now. Illness took away a lot of my joy, but not all of it, and that is my focus. Sharing these today is to remind myself that a smile goes a long, long way...even when I didn't want to, I tried. There is always light to find...always. Just take a look...

Moments with friends in the hospital following an injury.

The first time out of the hospital...I was given a special pass to attend a party with a special friend.

Or days after I was finally released from the hospital and went to a concert with the dancing girls.

I returned to camp for the first time and saw the pure gentleness and heart of an animal who refused to leave my side.

And during the same return visit, my friend Neely attached flashlights (see pic above), with duct tape, to my wheelchair so we could see while she pushed me across the rugged terrain under the blanket of darkness only camp provides. And I remember how she sat in my other wheelchair, as we hung out with everyone, so I wouldn't feel alone.

Dashing to New York City to see a dear friend after 9/11.

The look of freedom after purchasing a car with hand controls. That smile isn't about the car, it's about the freedom. To go where and when I wanted after relying on the kindness of others for so long...priceless.

And my dad doing what ever he could to give me the freedom.

Taking off to see a dear friend play soccer for the first time, all by myself.

Attending a Christmas tradition I thought would only be a memory.

And cuddling with the cutest Sprite there ever was at said Christmas tradition.

Making gingerbread houses and gingerbread men with my roommate and friend.

Christmas moments with cousins and family.

And although I can see the illness taking its toll in this picture, I also see a smile and remember all of the laughter of this beautiful day. This was just a few short days after a blood transfusion.

A day at the park even though I wanted to stay in bed.

Tennis with Ashlea. Love.

Volunteering and helping with my church youth group. Fevers dominated these days, but moments with these kids took away the pain...if only for a fleeting second.

And this day. I decided to take a friend's daughter to the Bengals' training camp and the coach and quarterback noticed us struggling to find an accessible seat. The coach waved for us to come down and sit on the field and every player signed our footballs, jerseys, and hats.

And one of the greatest football seasons for the Bengals and we had season tickets. I soon discovered the perks of having a wheelchair...great seats at football games.

Some of these are hard to look at and notice my illness taking over, but then I remember it didn't win. It didn't even win when it was at its worst. I kept going and doing and living and believing. Life goes on.

And the hardest memory of all...with my dancing girls, still standing, and loving every minute of it. See if you can find me. 

Just a story in images today. I will be stopping back by later in the week with many more words, but these pictures say enough. Remember to smile today...whatever the pain or however strong. It helps, I promise.


  1. Loved this post. You are such an inspiration... and beautiful! Thank you!

  2. I love this post - so many memories, and friends, and family, and smiles - so beautiful! You are great! Love you!

  3. what a beautiful post! these pictures are just gorgeous! you look radiant and so full of life.

  4. Love all the pictures! You look so radiant and beautiful - even in the ones where you were so ill...I'm glad you didn't give up or give in. Great post.

  5. You are so inspirational! And drop dead gorgeous by the way ;)
    Thanks for sharing!!
    Jen from MN

  6. I love these pictures. And you are always smiling. Looking back, these were such hard times for you but you managed to squeeze so much good out of them. You have always been shining. I'm glad we can look back and see those bright eyes and radiant smile. You are a wonderful, loving, generous, caring person and it makes my heart happy to see these moments. Keep up the good work. You are on the right road, even if it gets dark sometimes. Just remember those duct taped flashlights to see the light.

  7. Thank you for your strength and courage I needed it tonight- lets smile together through the tears! :)

  8. What a journey Sarah. Strength for the rest of it!

  9. Beautiful smile, beautiful post. Thank you.

  10. Beautiful pictures! Amazing how you managed to put on a smile through all your sickness and pain. Thank you for sharing.

  11. I loved the picture with your dad. I can see in his face that he has been through the pain with you every step of the way, it must be hard for him to have seen you suffer. But I also think he is amazed by your strength and ability to carry on and have a pma (positive mental attitude :-))


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